Postgame Notes: June 30, 2004

Lynx 58, Comets 50 (OT)
Target Center

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Minnesota snapped its three-game losing streak with tonight's overtime victory, beating the Comets for the second time this season. The Lynx handed Houston a 66-58 setback on June 19 at Target Center (their last win prior to this evening); entering 2004, they'd gone 1-16 all-time vs. the Comets. Minnesota (6-8) climbs to within a game of third place in the Western Conference race (Houston 8-8, Phoenix 7-7). They're 5-3 at home this year, and will conclude their three-game homestand Saturday vs. Detroit.

Houston, playing its sixth straight game without injured leading scorer Tina Thompson, fell to 2-4 in that span and 8-8 overall. It's the latest the Comets have ever been at or below .500 during a season; they opened 9-7 after 16 games a year ago en route to a 20-14 finish. The eight losses are more than Houston suffered in three full seasons (27-3 in 1998, 26-6 in 1999, 27-5 in 2000); the Comets also went 24-8 in 2002. They slip to 4-5 away from the Toyota Center this season, and will host Charlotte on Saturday.

The game marked the Lynx' first overtime outing in 2004; they're now 5-7 all-time in extra sessions, including 4-4 at Target Center. Minnesota's previous overtime victory also came at Houston's expense, a 68-64 home triumph last June 1 that doubled as the Lynx' first-ever win in the series. The Comets tied a WNBA record by going scoreless in the five-minute overtime tonight, shooting 0-for-8 from the floor; Miami (at Cleveland, July 25, 2001) is the only other team to have been blanked in OT.

The Comets ran out to a 29-18 lead late in the first half, and maintained an eight-point advantage with 2:00 left in regulation before Minnesota rallied. A Teresa Edwards three-pointer began the comeback, and Katie Smith's layup with :05.1 to play forced overtime. The Lynx outscored Houston 19-3 over the final seven minutes (regulation + OT), completing their second double-digit rally of the season and 11th in franchise history. Minnesota made up a 14-point deficit in beating Phoenix 76-68 on June 5.

Minnesota withstood 33.9% shooting to post the victory, its first in eight games this year when hitting less than 40%. It's the Lynx' fourth consecutive sub-40% outing and sixth in the last seven games; they're shooting 36.5% in the past seven. Meanwhile, Houston notched season lows by scoring 50 points and hitting just 32.3% from the field; the Comets have topped the 70-point mark only twice in 16 games this year. Minnesota had allowed 74.0 ppg (and 48.5% accuracy) during its three-game losing streak.

Katie Smith scored 20 of her game-high 23 points in the second half and overtime; on the season, she's tallied 65 percent of her points (154 of 237) after intermission. It's her fifth 20-point effort in 2004 and the 72nd of her WNBA career; that ties Cynthia Cooper's total as the second-highest in league history (Lisa Leslie leads with 78). Rookie Nicole Ohlde chipped in 15 points and seven rebounds in a season-high 39 minutes; she's averaging 17.0 ppg and 7.5 rpg on the current homestand.

Houston received season-high scoring efforts from reserves Lucienne Berthieu (11 points) and Dominique Canty (nine) this evening, grabbing a 20-5 advantage in bench scoring. However, Sheryl Swoopes was limited to nine points (just two in the second half and OT), after tallying 22.0 ppg in her previous five contests. Michelle Snow hauled in a season-high 15 rebounds, all at the defensive end; that establishes a WNBA single-game record for most total rebounds without an offensive board.

Lynx forward Amanda Lassiter missed the game due to flu.
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